Beaches & Boating

The Glen Lake area is known for its crystal clear waters on the Crystal River, Glen Lake and shores of Lake Michigan. Here are some must-visit beaches, places to launch a boat, companies to charter fish or find where to rent boats and equipment.


Lake Michigan:

Glen Haven – is on Sleeping Bear Bay and offers a combination of stunning beach, incredible views, and a historical museum. The Cannery Boat Museum in Glen Haven is located right on the Lake Michigan beach which looks out at the Manitou Islands and the pilings remaining from the old Glen Haven docks. Where to find it: From Glen Arbor, travel on M-109 towards Glen Haven.  Also enjoy the Glen Haven historic district! Public parking, no fees.

Glen Arbor – Access to Lake Michigan at the end of Lake Street in Glen Arbor, adjacent to the public boat ramp. Please respect the private beach signs, as these areas belong to homeowners.

There is a small sandy Township Beach at the end of W Bay Lane in Glen Arbor. Directions: Go North/East out of Glen Arbor on W Harbor HWY (M-22), turn Left (west) on Bay Lane which is just north of Glen Arbor before you get to the Leelanau School or The Homestead.

Port Oneida – Take M-22 North, then turn left on Port Oneida Rd.  Stay left on Lane Rd.  This is usually a quieter, more private beach, but be ready to ascend and descend a steep flight of steps!

Peterson Beach – Named #6 in the Top 10 beaches to visit in America – has a boardwalk crossing the low dunes from the parking lot to the beach. It’s a quiet stretch of sand with wide vistas of Empire Bluff to the north and Platte River Point to the south. Leashed pets are allowed to the left of the boardwalk when facing the water. Where to find it: Peterson Road is a gravel road that you can take through the woods for about a mile to a small parking area with a restroom. It is located in the southern most part of the Park near the intersection of M-22 and Deadstream Road.

County Road 669 – Bohemian Beach – On Good Harbor Bay. Sparkling sand, always aquamarine water, and amazing sunsets over views of Pyramid Point and Whaleback sand dune make this secluded beach a quiet gem. Lake Michigan Rd. parallels the bay for several miles. Follow it east to a pleasant shoreline picnic area and the Good Harbor Bay trail-head (#13). Shalda Creek empties into Lake Michigan to the west of the parking area. Where to find it: Take M-22 Northeast from Glen Arbor, past Port Oneida Historic District and turn Left onto Bohemian road (669). You’ll see Lake Michigan as you approach the parking area. See posted signs for Campfires and having Dogs on the beach here.

Empire – Take M-22 to Empire, then a right on Niagara St.  Follow the signs to the public beach. There is an expansive playground, basketball courts, and lots of beach space.

Esch Beach – aka Otter Creek Beach, is another popular swimming area. This beautiful, tranquil Lake Michigan beach is located at the mouth of Otter Creek. Enjoy walking up the warm and shallow creek bed to see a stunning display of wildflowers and local fauna. Where to find it: Esch Road is located about 3 mile south of Empire on M-22. Turn to the west and follow the road about 1 mile to Lake Michigan. You can park along the road and there are bathroom facilities.

Big and Little Glen:

While there are no public typical “beaches” along the shores of Glen Lake, you may enjoy the following:

Old Settler’s Park + Picnic Area – Located on CR 675, close to Laker Shakes, La Becasse and Funistrada in Burdickville. Enjoy playground equipment, a gazebopublic restroomsnon-motorized boat launch and dock extended into the shallow waters. For more information on reserving this area for private events, visit the Leelanau County Government website.

Little Glen Picnic Area – Located off M-109, close to the Dune Climb.  A grassy area with public restroomspicnic tables and parking on the shores of Little Glen Lake.  You may also launch your kayaks, SUPs or canoes from this area – provided you can carry your watercraft from your car to the shore!



Fishing charter trips for all ages and skill levels are available from several local charter companies:

Watta Bite Charter Fishing - Glen Arbor

Reel Tales Charters - Glen Arbor

young man with caught fish


Pontoon boats, speed boats, jet skis and more are available for rent from these local businesses:

Glen Craft Marina and Resort

Glen Lake Marine

On the Narrows Marina

Sunset Watersports – rentals and delivery to boat launch sites


Canoe, kayak, SUP (Stand Up Paddle board) trips and equipment rentals available from:

Riverside Canoe Trips

Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak

Crystal River Outfitters

Sunset Watersports

child kayaking



• Canoes, Kayaks or Paddle Boards, public access found at the intersection of Co. Rd 675 (W Crystal View Rd.) & S. Fisher Road. Part of the SBD National Park, amenities include an Parking Lot, Outhouse, Crystal River Trailhead access, Access to the non-motorized Heritage Trail, and a non-motorized boat put-in.

• There are also carry-in launch sites or take-outs marked, along W. Crystal View Road, where the River goes under the road.


A public DNR boat ramp is located on Day Forest Road, just off M-22 by the Narrows Bridge (motorized/non-motorized). You can also access Big Glen from your boat by putting in here.


There is a public ramp for non-motorized boats at Old Settler’s Park in Burdickville.


• W Bay Lane (Carry-In Access) in Glen Arbor, located at the end of Bay Lane. Heading North/East out of Glen Arbor on W Harbor HWY (M-22), turn Left (west) on Bay Lane which is just north of Glen Arbor before you get to the Leelanau School or The Homestead.

• The road-end on South Sunset Shores Drive (Carry-In Access) in Port Oneida

• Lake Street in Glen Arbor, located at the end of the street adjacent to LeBear Resort on Lake Michigan. A Fee & Permit from the Glen Arbor Township is required. Minimal parallel parking available.  

• County Road 669 (Bohemian Road) – Carry-In Access – Vault toilet and water available between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 125 feet between parking lot and beach.

If you are interested in canoeing or kayaking in the area, we recommend you launch at one of the public boat ramps. You may also call or email Crystal River Outfitters for more information and pricing on kayak/canoe/SUP rentals.

For more information about invasive species and how to protect our lakes, please visit the leading resource: Glen Lake Association